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Category: Main Street Page 1 of 5

Cocktail and pizza making class at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Getting crafty, cocktail and pizza making parties where you learn to create your own seasonal cocktails and the perfect pizza pie!

“Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” continues to give you reasons to return. More than just healthy meal solutions, they also host children’s pizza making parties. And for all those parents and caretakers that attend, but can’t fully participate, it is now your turn to be able to make your own pizza. And to celebrate this child-free activity, the night also comes with cocktails that you too can make yourself. What a great way to try something new and maybe learn something new in the process. Not to mention you get to enjoy the cocktails as you make your pizza, and then have it right out of the oven for dinner.

For $50 per person (plus taxes and gratuity) each party includes the following:

  • Party Nibbles – Locally Marinated Olives + Cheesy Flatbread & Dip.
  • Cocktail Making – Your cocktail host will guide you through how to craft 2 seasonal cocktails.
  • Pizza Making – Your pizza making host will guide you through rolling out your dough, spreading our house made organic tomato sauce, shrinking scrumptious Canadian cheeses & adding your favourite gourmet toppings.
  • To Finish – Platters of warm double chocolate brownies served with house made vanilla ice cream.

As the first run of this newly conceived event our rendition varied a little from the outline above.

Our party gathered at the Main Street location, spread across a long table. Here, we enjoyed a couple of appetizers to get our appetite going, and to give the stragglers time to arrive.

When fully assembled our gathering of 8 was split into two groups and our night began with the cocktail making portion. We tried our hand at two of their signature sips, getting a step by step lesson from one their restaurant’s bartenders. Most of us, like myself, unfamiliar with proper tools and technique, got the benefit of a crash course.

I liked the “Earl grey gin” cocktail the most with the use of their own house made tea mixture. It was like a ice tea, but spiked. Refreshing and easy to drink, and great with most plates.

The “Triple berry mojito” was muddled mint, black berries purée and rum. Another refreshing cocktail that paired well with all the fresh ingredients of our pizzas to come.

And as we double fisted our tasty cocktails creations we began the pizza making portion of our night. Everyone got their own round of dough to flatten and roll out over flour with a rolling pin. Majority of us formed traditional 10 inch flat circles; whereas I got a little creative, shaping my flat bread pizza into a heart.

From here our pizza making coach came around with sauce and topping options. We were advised to not go over four toppings or else we wouldn’t be able to taste the crust past the layers. Here, I would have loved to have all the ingredient options before me, to pick and choose what I wanted as a pleased. This, instead of having my options come around and what I wanted rationed out by the handful.

First, comes the sauce, our choice was between pesto or tomato. We were given the option to do both, and majority of us took the opportunity to do half-half.

Next came the first layer of cheese, a handful each to spread evenly over our pizza in the making.

Next came the cooked meat toppings like chicken, ham, bacon, pepperoni, and sausage; to name a few.

After, fruit and vegetable options like mushrooms, onion (sautéed and raw), grilled tomatoes, red peppers, mango, olive/, spinach and kale; to name a few.

Then a second round of cheeses of the soft variety.

A few of us did go over the four ingredient maximum, but every flat bread pizza turned out just as delicious as the next. Especially as each diner made theirs to their preference and if they didn’t like the combinations, they only had themselves to blame.

Then off into their specialty oven they go. This part is with help from the “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” staff.

And as we waited for our dinner to bake up, we made a mocktail featuring ginger beer, which also served as a great aperitif.

Each pizza was then plated, sliced, and placed before the diner. As a finishing touch you had the opportunity to topped your oven baked pizza with some dry cheeses like goat and Parmesan, and leafy greens like arugula and basil.

Then we ate and continued to drink, enjoying the meal before us and the experience behind us. But our pizza and cocktail making class did not end until dessert was served. Their popular double chocolate brownie with house made vanilla ice cream was the perfect way to cap off the night.

What a fun new way to enjoy an interactive dinner. Where else can eat the spoils of your learned knowledge? Adult pizza parties with cocktail component only at “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
4186 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-566-9779
rockymountainflatbread.ca

Sing Sing Beer Bar

Looking for an easy dinner on Main Street we found ourselves drawn in by the bright lights letting us know we could “drink beer here”. Their front window is as direct: the restaurant’s name on a neon beer bottle label, hovering over a sea of crushed up beer cans. And their sandwich board chimes in letting you know that you can also enjoy pho and pizza within.

The restaurant is brand new, crisp with new floor boards and tables that match in light birch, spacious with vaulted ceilings showcasing exposed wood beams. The room is set up like a beer hall with cafeteria tables, bar tops, and televised sporting matches. Although with the noise level you really can’t enjoy the latter. This is one of those places where you need to read lips to understand, and yell to talk. Plus you have to be in the bar area to get a decent view of any screen. Beer cans line the top of the actual bar. While you wait for a table, you can order here from all the options listed on papers, held in place with magnets, on back lit panels.

Seating is first come first serve, although there is a hostess by the door to greet you. She suggested grabbing a beer by the bar first and standing with it until a table cleared. Once you see a party start to leave and you dash over to claim their seat for yourself. I don’t like this style of self seating, because you end up hovering and rushing the party out before they are ready. Then you sit before the table has been cleaned.

Our meal began with us pushing left over food particles to the side with a folded menu. And there it sat until eventually, a waitress came by and pushed the rest of it on to the floor with a dirty rag. However, most of it landed on the bench next to my guest and the clothing she had over it. There aren’t any hooks for bags or jackets and it is either sit on it, have it over you, or beside you.

We were able to grab the corner of one of the large share tables and were given enough breathing room to sit and enjoy our meal without being shoulder to shoulder with the patrons next to us.

To start I ordered their signature cocktail, which is basically a spiked Vietnamese coffee. The “Sing sing ca phe” is available hot or chilled, I went with the former given the weather this evening. Bows and arrows coffee, suntory toki Japanese whiskey, sweetened condensed milk, fee brothers black walnut bitters, and cocoa nib syrup. It was as strong as I expected, but I would have liked it with more condense milk and for some of that listed chocolate flavouring to come through.

For food we tried both their pho and their pizza. The “Pho ga sing sing” smells like pho, but isn’t like any rice noodle dish with hot broth that I have ever had, and given the ingredient list it is probably the same for you too. Roast chicken, basil, sprouts, and quail eggs. The flavour went together, yet contradicted. The broth was light, yet heavy with an almost sour and tangy taste. It finished clean, yet was rich. It was a little too salty, but also packed full of varying flavours. But all together it was almost flat on its own, it need something else in between bites, another element, maybe more chicken slices and/or quail eggs to change the flavour and keep your interest. Even the traditional squeeze bottle of brown sauce would have helped. Overall this was was different and I enjoyed it, but it doesn’t need repeating. However, I would like quail eggs in any of my noodle soups in the future.

For pizza we went with the “Carne piccante” with brisket, bacon, and pepperoni. It is as cheesy as it smelled. Plenty of Parmesan to pair with the loaded sesame seed crust. The crust was a nice nod to their Vietnamese theme, paired with the meaty brisket chunks seasoned fully in familiar Vietnamese flavours. I know don’t if I like the price given how little pizza we got, but it at least tasted elevated. Meaty with a crunchy crust. Although at the end of the day, pizza for me is best chewy and doughy with more for less.

As for the service, we saw a rotation of servers walk by us, but we didn’t get the full service that you would from a restaurant that you didn’t have to seat yourself. Our server didn’t bring us water, nor did she offer any, and it was too hard to track someone down to ask for some in the end. Especially with a loud dining area, packed tight tables with narrow pathways in between each, and the set up of communal cutlery and menus that live on the table as permanent fixtures.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This place is different. Vietnamese restaurant, Beer hall, and pizza parlour all rolled into one. Giving diners who love all three the ability to have all three at once. They also serve as a safe space for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese flavours and pho; giving them the ability to taste and try, with plenty of beer to wash anything they don’t like down. A cool place to visit with a large group, but not advised for date night or a catch up session if you are planning to talk to one another. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SING SING
2718 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T 3E8
604-336-9556
singsingbeerbar.com

Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Dine Out 2019 menu

Dine Out Vancouver is in full swing and with two weeks left, you still have time to take advantage of the deals and the ability to try somewhere new. Like “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”. Looking at them, you wouldn’t think they are more than a simple salad and pizza place. But behind their all wooden exterior is a restaurant that offers so much more. More on their menu, and more for their community.

Before we began our meal, our owner/host spoke to their origin story. How they built their own oven by hand, wanting to use it to make healthy pizzas for families, like their own. They vowed to then and continue to connect with local farmers, to source their produce and ingredients. Ingredients that are used to prepare their rustic pizzas, which includes an organic bread base, made with dough that utilizes maple syrup to activate the yeast.

But they have more than just these handcrafted flatbreads, baked crispy in their wood fired oven. They also offer organic pasta dishes, salads, soups and desserts. All with a focus on the quality of ingredients used and the diner’s health and well being in mind. A lesson I would learn first had with an invitation to lunch.

Their Dine Out menu is available for lunch or dinner. A $25 meal that pairs whatever appetizer you choose with a house crafted mocktail, and follows it with a selection of their pastas or pizzas for your entree, and any of their desserts to finish. The following are some of the options we enjoyed, to help you in your decision making process.

The “Paloma mocktail” is made with pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed lime, simple syrup, and soda. You are able to add a shot of vodka or tequila it to for $5. This early afternoon I ended up keeping it virgin, and and enjoying the tart sparkling beverage as is.

For appetizers you can go soup, salad, or mushroom cap. For the soups your options are either their Seasonal Soup or the vegan Spicy Organic Tomato Soup. The former is currently creamy bacon and leek offering. A tasty combination available in your mushroom cap, and again in your pasta as well. A hearty soup that was great for dipping your side of focaccia toast in to.

The “Spicy Organic Tomato Soup”, was tasty, but not what I imagined it to be. More like a marinara sauce then the classic pairing to grilled cheese. It tasted as healthy as it boasts it is.

Want something that requires more chewing? Then you want one of their traditional salads. Either a Fresh Herb Salad (which is the Vegan option), the Basil & Blackberry Salad, or a Fig & Goat Cheese Salad. It is nice to be given a choice within a choice. The “fresh herb salad” included assorted greens, tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, and Vancouver grown sunflower sprouts; all drizzled in their house made fresh herb vinaigrette. I like fruit in my salads, as it gives things some sweetness.

Sadly I didn’t get enough basil flavour or a single black berry in the “Basil & Blackberry Salad”. But the freshness of the bowl and the zesty dressing was enough to have me going for another forkful.

Although, I much preferred the fig and goat cheese salad, although I didn’t find a single fig slice, through my rummaging around in the bowl. But there was plenty of goat cheese crumbs to make up for its absence, and I love goat cheese.

But for something a little different, and if you have never visited “Rocky Mountain” before, the “BC mushroom caps” are the ones to get. Local roasted mushroom caps stuffed with your choice of filling, with 4 options to consider. I avoided the “Spinach & Goat Cheese mushroom cap”, for my dislike of wilted greens; and missed out on trying the “Bacon, Leek & Cheddar mushroom caps”, as they seem to be the most popular amongst our group.

So the “Roasted Veggies mushroom caps” are my pick or the “Sundried Tomato and Hummus” stuffed ones. But basically you are choosing each based on what flavours you want stuffed within.

For entrees your choices are between their flatbread pizzas or their chef’s pasta feature. Both customizable. Choose one of their traditional flatbread pizza from: Classic, Tomato Basil, Parma, Sundried Tomato (can be made Vegan), Naturally Meaty, Beef Pepperoni, Sundried Tomato & Goat Cheese, Farmer’s Market (can also be made Vegan), Pesto Shrimp, Genoa Salami, All Canadian, or Pesto Chicken. For a Gluten Free Pizza Crust you can add $3.00. And to make it one of their “Artisan Pizzas” like we did, you can add $1.20 – 5.00 accordingly.

They have a healthy list of vegan and vegetarian options, with the ability to transform majority of their speciality pies in a similar fashion. One of the more memorable ones was the “Beyond avocado veg” vegan pizza, it lacked cheese and you couldn’t tell. It had an avocado sauce base which was topped with zucchini, bell peppers, vegan beyond sausage, caramelized onions, and hemp hearts, all coated in a balsamic reduction. It was like eating a roasted vegetable salad with guacamole. A dynamic gathering of vegetables that keeps bites interesting, thus allowing you the ability to eat the whole pizza solo. Although I advise coming with a friend or two, to be able to order a bit of everything from their Dine Out menu, and share it all.

Another vegetarian friendly option is their “Farmer’s market” flatbread pizza, this also doesn’t come at an additional cost. It starts with an organic tomato sauce base, and to it adds mozzarella, a three herbed pesto, capriny goat cheese, and a collection of fresh seasonal vegetable. Today our vegetables included juicy cherry tomatoes, crispy kale, and squash that offered substance and a great starchy texture to your bites.

One of their more original artisan pizzas is the “Chorizo and cod”, with a spicy tomato sauce base, local chorizo sausage, fresh bell peppers, red onions, sun-dried tomato, mozzafina di latte, green onions, and pan seared ocean wise cod. It was delicious with so much depth in the tastes and textures used. And I liked how the fish was presented as breaded and baked nuggets, to really highlight them.

If you have never been, the “Fig and Brie” is the one to try. Black Misson fig jam, crimini mushrooms, local prosciutto ham, caramelized red onions, triple cream Brie, and fresh arugula dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon. I just wished for more slices of fig, as its sweetness paired so well with the salty ham and the pepperiness of the arugula.

The “Bacon and Potato” took what worked with the soup and the mushroom caps above and made it a hand held in this filling pizza. Garlic oil base, local potatoes, leek, caramelized red onions, double smoked bacon, a three cheese mix, green onions, coarse ground pepper, and rosemary. Hearty and delicious.

The “Parma” is one of the pizza orders that is available off of their Dine Out menu, without the need to pay extra. Organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, Schinken Speck cured ham, crimini mushrooms, mango, arugula, and plenty of parmesan chips. Another flat bread that covered all flavour and texture boxes. Sweet fruit, salty ham, stringy cheese, meaty mushrooms, and fresh veg.

If you choose the pasta route for your entree you can choose the “Chef’s pasta feature” from off their blackboards, (it can be made vegan). It is made with organic pasta and local seasonal veggies. And for $5 more you can get it with free range local chicken. The best part is all their pasta is perfectly cooked with a great chew and comes with flatbread on the side to scoop sauce up with.

Or you can add $1 to your meal for the “Penne Bolangnese”. Organic penne, slow cooked organic BC beef tomatoes made into a sauce, shaved parmesan, and basil. A classic tomato sauce pasta with plenty of ground beef.

For $1.20 more you get the “Bacon & Three Cheese Penne”. Organic penne, double smoked bacon, whole cream, sautéed leeks, aged cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, and caramelized onion. This was my favourite of the three. I found it like an upscale Mac and cheese, but with bacon!

And then you round things off with dessert. Like their house-made “Mango raspberry sorbet”. It is sweet, not tart, (which is the reason why I don’t like sorbet), and deceptively creamy given the lack of milk products used. A beautiful end with the essence of rose.

For something more rich you can order their “Warm double chocolate brownies”. Created with Callebeut chocolate, and served with a scoop of their house made vanilla ice cream. A chewy brownie that sticks to your teeth and melts on your tongue. Rich, but not to the point you couldn’t finish the serving yourself.

But my vote and the one I would come back for is their Vegan and gluten free “apple cinnamon crumble” served with coconut ice cream. I cannot believe this is vegan friendly. I didn’t miss anything in this. The ice cream was creamy smooth. The oats toasted evenly and coated in cinnamon. And the dried cranberry a nice pop of flavour and some chew. I can imagine this as a great way to start your day, or a breakfast granola on a hot summer’s day.

They also have a gluten free cheesecake for you to consider, with a toasted coconut base. Although no one decided to order this today.

If you aren’t able to make it out to them during the Dine Out Vancouver run, worry not, they will be bringing this menu back for Valentine’s Day and to it adding a plate of “Koko Monk” chocolates for you and your honey to share. The “First kiss” heart with a sour cherry and raspberry filling, and the “Coconut curry” patterned with a cold leaf print. Both are vegan friendly, using 100% chocolate and no sugars, and each is sweetened with natural fruits.

If the above doesn’t turn you on to “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”, the following will. As I mentioned earlier, not only do they feed their community they also help to educate it as well. They give back with their “Earthbites” initiative, connecting families with their food. Teaching kids and families how to grow their own food and eat more seasonally. Similarly, they also work with over 3000 students from various elementary and high schools. Where they help to plan and create their very own school garden. Then they help to build the curriculum around access to said garden, pulling it together with nutrition and the importance of consuming vegetables. Like picking all the kale they grow and using it to make a kale smoothie. Thus teaching students raw recipes that they can do at home, themselves. A great learning as most students are malnourished; they are eating, but not eating the right things.

So as you can see, after getting the above run down, I was even more excited to sit down and dine with them. And I hope after reading all of this, you will feel the same way too.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
4186 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-566-9779
rockymountainflatbread.ca
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tocador, Happy Hour

Seeing some pretty impressive drinks and dishes come out of their social media presence I was excited to give “Tocador” a shot. Its pale pink exterior with white, pink, and blue striped patio was eye catching in its simplicity and new coat of paint.

Walking in was like an explosion of colour. The pastel walls and bold accents helped to craft this wonderland. Featured walls were papered in pink hibiscuses and blue. There was a mural of a joyous woman bathed in streams of yellow sunlight; smiling in full, surrounded by palm leaves. Pink patterned tiles creeped from wall to bar, its hue matching the striped vases that sat on the chestnut coloured counter top. I especially liked the up-cycling of the two vanities with mirrors, that sat on the actual bar as shelving.

This afternoon I visited their colourful restaurant with a friend to try their “Punch of the week”. I ordered it using a photo, but sadly didn’t get what was pictured. I was envisioning a tall glass goblet with a long stem, the length of my forearm. A lavish vessel to be enjoying a grand drink in. Instead, we still got just as big of a drink, except it was in a short and stout glass. This drink has a two person minimum. Its making varies from week to week, but it always has plenty of rum and fresh juices, and as the menu describes, “some stuff that will taste good in your mouth”. This week included a mix of both white and dark rum. It was good enough, but not memorable in terms of flavour profile, but let’s be real, I definitely got it for the novelty.

And seeing we were at the right place, at the right time: between 4-6pm; we also partook in their happy hour offerings saving on average $3 per dish. Although there were only 2 options available, and neither were printed on its own menu. So perhaps they were testing this out in their market? None-the-less, here they are.

“Croquetas con carne” potatoes croquettes made with a rotating selection of meats. Today it was lamb, you don’t get much of the meat, but plenty of its flavour. Little nuggets of dark meat embedded into the fluffy whipped potato ball, all wrapped and coated in crispy fried breading. The creamy white sauce it sat in gave things some moisture and another dimension of flavour, however I would have preferred a gravy or a tomato based sauce to give it a more familiar feel.

“Dip & Dab”. The name was fun. It was like chips and dip, but with crispy dried plantain slices and house made guacamole. A nice bar snack to nibble on as you drink, and on the healthier side too. Loved the crunch of the fruit chip and the lumpy guacamole that paired with it.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Sadly I didn’t get enough food or drink to give a full assessment of the place, but I did like what I saw and tried.
I will definitely be back for a more fulsome meal. In fact, a few days after this, I attempted to invite a Cuban friend to try their dinner service with me, to get her perspective on their cuisine. But after glancing at the menu she declared that it wasn’t authentic cuban cuisine, so passed. Until next time I guess. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TOCADOR
2610 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T 3E6
604-620-2433
tocador.ca

Restaurant Yugo

We came for dinner, my guest chose our destination having been impressed by the reviews she has read and the photos she has seen. They are located on Main Street, but the decor with its wood meet brick facade feels a lot more like a small bistro in Gastown. A very modern feel to parallel the sophisticated plates to come.

On this Wednesday night the restaurant was full and without reservations we ended up perching up at the sushi bar. Which turned out to be the best spot in the house. I always enjoy being able to see my food as it is being prepared, before I consume it. And at the bar I got to drool over my own serving, and at the same time side eye everyone else’s.

We ordered a handful of small plates to share, started with the “Uni from Peru”. $13 for 3 pieces. Us being at the bar, and the sushi chef being able to see us, he generously gifted us 4 pieces of uni so that we could easily split the serving between 2, with no argument on who would get the odd piece out. And I am so thankful because these were delicious, one was not enough. Creamy, like custard with the crisp cucumber for freshness and texture. Then there was the display component of the dish. Set on an acrylic platform with a light up bulb that you turned on and off or strobed with a remote.

Being bar side also gave us the opportunity to try a sampling of their house made truffled peach. Once again a perk bestowed upon us by the chef himself. It was pickled tangy and you get the truffle flavour immediately. It made for a great palette freshener.

The “Cherry wood smoked gravlax salmon Oshi sushi” comes cloched with smoke. With some theatrics it is removed and what you get is a smokey, torched square of fresh salmon over rice. It really takes the dish to the next level. But this time we had to share the third pieces between us.

The “Beef carpaccio” was thin slices of beef seasoned with chilli oil and tonkatsu sauce. Topped with anori, cured egg yolks, and greens. It was spicy with the peppery greens for freshness.

The “Hamachi aburi Oshi” was another lightly torched fish over rice pressed sushi box. It was spicy and refreshing with the jalapeño, the fried taro topping gave it some crispness, and the miso mayo some tang along with moisture.

The “Scallop risotto” helped to fill us with its heartiness. Hokkaido scallop, black truffle, mushrooms, ikura, honey ricotta, and bonito flakes. It was so thick and creamy that it reminded us of a savoury porridge, comforting with a good mix of salt and textures. So rich that I found myself at a two small bowl maximum. That and there wasn’t enough textures to keep eating it interesting, and this is with me rationing bites of scallop to enjoy with the moisten rice. We had plenty to take home as left overs.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked everything we had and wanted more, I just wish I could afford more in one sitting. You definitely get what you pay for here. Quality ingredients and professional techniques that have you tasting the difference. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

YUGO
4265 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3R1
604-620-7878
restaurantyugo.com
Restaurant Yugo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nomad

Today I was visiting “Nomad”, as one of the judges for the Vancouver Foodster sangria challenge. My role, to visit each of the five participating restaurants, to try their sangria creation; then judge it based on taste, originality and presentation. I won’t be revealing my thoughts on the drink here, as the competition is still running, but be sure to return back to my blog for the results and to see how I voted after October 7th.

I have only been to “Nomad” once before. And having tried a handful of their happy hour plates had me excited to explore more of their menu with a full dinner, today. To check out the original visit post, visit the link, then come back to read my revisit.

Nomad, Happy Hour

 

Their name refers to their inspiration, their ability to travel and try new flavour combinations and techniques, then apply it to their menu. A menu that is updated regularly and takes on a lot from its surroundings and what is available locally, just as a nomadic tribe would.

With minimal decorations, vaulted ceilings, and a few scenic photos where blue skies meets brown soil; the decor too subtly speaks to the nomadic theme. We were seated at the bar. This was the perfect vantage point to take in some of the little details they put into each cocktail poured. Like smoking glasses with wood and flame, and then storing them in the fridge. This seals in the smokiness that latches on to the moisture from the heating and cooling of the glass.

Here, on the high tops we were looked after by their very charisma bar manager, Benny. I would later learn that he has quite the following, which includes a crowd that comes in specifically on Thursdays, when he works, (and lucky for us, we were here on a Thursday). He has competed in various mixing competitions, including a big win at the “Hennessy Cognac” competition, locally. This win earned him the ability to complete, and represent Vancouver on a national level. And his creative three course cocktail was so popular that it earned him a seat at the judge’s table this year. This was one of the many inspiring stories he regaled us with. I was most impressed by his ability to continuing mixing as he took us through this history of achievements.

We would get a taste of his ability with a glass of “Nomad’s” most popular drink, with over 18,000 glasses sold to date: The “Femme finale”. It included lavender, ginger syrup, fresh lemon, rose water, and sparkling wine. It was a pretty drink, light with citrus notes and bubbles. The house brandied cherry was literally the cherry on top of this cocktail.

The food portion of our night began with some house made sourdough bread. Baked daily every morning, this half loaf of warm crusty bread was served with cultured butter and smoked salt. It was good as is, better with the butter, and next level with the salt highlight the natural tang of the dough. I just wished that the crust wasn’t as tough as it was. I found it scraping the roof of my mouth, to the point that I decided to peel it away and leave only soft spongy bread to spread with butter.

As they did with their bread, they had a different approach with their squid. Whereas most restaurants fry or grill their’s, here their “Humboldt squid” is seared for a different texture and appreciation of its natural flavours, (this is also something that they are known for). It is served in a panang sauce with tomatillo, cilantro, roasted chickpea, house pickled red onion, and king oyster mushroom. The creamy coconut sauce had a curry feel to it. It did well to highlight the firm and chewy squid. As I eluded to earlier, I have never had a texture like it before. Something like what I would expect from squid, but with the qualities of eating fish. There really isn’t anything like it. Sadly, the side ingredients really didn’t do anything to further the plate. I wanted more variety in the textures, less softness, like with the grainy chickpeas (but this is also a preference thing). More pickled vegetables with a crunch (green beans and cauliflower) and maybe the mushrooms in larger chunks would have help. But honestly the squid by itself is worth ordering for a try. I would have preferred it as a steak to cut into too.

The “Hannah brook organic green salad” would have served better as a side to the squid above, instead of a main on its own. I did enjoy the flavouring of the toasted sunflower and preserved orange dressing, the bits of pickled roasted peppers, and especially the dehydrated plum, with the crispy quinoa. But overall even as fully dressed as it was, it still felt like it was lacking. There were too many greens where u wanted more fruit, more plum, and more crunch.

Our version of the “Shaw family farms pork tenderloin” included only 2 cuts of the tender pork as a tasting, thought normally it does come with 3. It is prepared with organic soy beans, broccoli, whipped yams, and miso jus. The jus was a tad on the salty side, but delicious when paired with the beautiful sweet yam purée, and the slightly cooked, crunchy broccoli. The beans offered substance, but once again I am not a fan of such beans and their grainy texture.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
There aren’t many cocktail spots in the Main Street area, so I can definitely suggest this one if you are looking for a unique glass. Here, it will be offered with attentive service, and a welcoming aura. They preach and saw to it that our time with them would be all about the experience, offering us and those dining a lasting memory in some small way. Overall, a beautiful way to enjoy a different take on your favourite proteins and sides. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

NOMAD
3950 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P2
604-708-8525
nomad-vancouver.ca

Long’s Noodle House

I have read somewhere that the way to define a good Chinese restaurant is a worn down exterior with matching interior, lots of Chinese people dining within, and a grumpy cashier. Well, this well known stop for noodles on Main Street has all three.

It is one of those cash only, hole in the wall Chinese restaurants. It is community fuelled, where regulars make them a part of their routines. And for good reason: the food comes fast, it is tasty, and affordable for day to day eating.

I found everything tasty and as I expected it to be. I grew up eating so much Chinese food, and with some many variations on my favourite dishes; I really can’t separate good from great. This was delicious, we ate it all down greedily, though at the same time, I wouldn’t need to drive all the way down for more, as there are other equally good Chinese restaurants, closer to my home. I did like how it was smaller and had a more casual feel though. You wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable walking into one of those large dim sum in the morning, seafood restaurants at night, large enough to host a wedding reception at restaurants.

“Rice cake with preserve vegetable”. I love the chew of these slices and really eat it more for that then the flavour. In fact, I even avoid the slivers of green from the vegetable.

The “Tan tan with meat sauce” is one of my favourite noodle dishes. With a thick sauce and plenty of ground meat, the noodles walked away with plenty of flavour.

We rounded out our meal with even more carbs: the classic “Xiao long bao”. These were made in house, by a woman behind the front counter. They were plenty tasty, with a tangy dip in the vinegar. The meat was tender and the dough chewy, I just wish there was more soup within each bundle, enough to have the liquid gush and hit you in the back of your throat when you bit down.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It was good, we ate our fill and had no leftovers. I will crave such flavours again, but don’t necessarily need to satisfy them back here. Overall, I am neutral on this one. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LONG’S NOODLE HOUSE
4853 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-879-7879
Long's Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Trilussa Pizza & Pane

My guest and were taking a stroll along Main Street, until we found ourselves hungry. Here, she introduced me to “Trilussa”, a long standing institution in her neighbourhood, which only recently have they come under new management. And with the new owner came some improvements. The pizza is modelled after the type you’d get in Italy, but now with improvements to the recipe. For example, the crust now stays crispier for longer.

The great part about ordering pizza from “Trilussa” is you can do it by the foot. They are baked up in lengthy stretches, and set in front of their show table with window. There are several options already made, waiting for you to take a chunk out of it. And if there is something you don’t see, that their menu offers, they are more than happy to whip it up and bake it fresh for you. And even then you only need to commit to the inches you actually want. During our visit we tried six different pizzas, two of which were baked just for us.

After you place your order and pay, you seat yourself. The restaurant is a series of booths with a couple of chairs outside. The half brown and half grey walls split the restaurant in two, with framed photos of their pizza and accomplishments hanging. We grabbed a booth for ourselves and helped ourselves to water from their dispenser. When your pizza by the rectangle is ready you are called to claim them, on the wooden boards that they are served on.

We started with a pizza topped with salmon, capers, and onions; covered in mozzarella cheese. It was just the right amount of salmon, so that it didn’t overpower the subtle flavour of the buttery crust.

The “Trasteverde” was a simple meat and cheese pizza with pancetta, mozzarella, and pecorino. This was another pizza where the ingredients were well balanced. The meat wasn’t too salty, nor did it over power the base, and truly the crust is my favourite part of any pizza.

The “Attilio” has mushrooms and mozzarella. It is earthy mushrooms meeting gooey cheese, and it tasted exactly as you’d expect it to be.

The “Caprese” pizza was like the salad, but over pizza crust. Organic greens, thick cut tomato slices, and a crumble of bocconcini. This pizza was served cold with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to finish it off. It ate like a salad, but with a crisp base. Good separate, not my favourite together.

The “Prosciutto crudo with Parmesan” was a sample that we got. This one is a special that they don’t always make available, so the generous new owner, insisted that we got a taste. Salty meat and cheese with peppery greens. another pizza that ate more like a salad and charcuterie plate.

My favourite was their “Capri” with potatoes, pesto, and pecorino. This was made to order for us, it came fresh out of the oven, with the thin slices of potato still crispy. This was the most original pizza in their offerings. I liked the richness of the flavourful potatoes and chalky cheese, over the chewy crust

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
They are a staple in the community, offering up pizza by the foot, before it was trendy. A solid stop if you are looking to snack in the neighbourhood, but not necessarily a destination to travel to. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TRILUSSA
4363 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V3R1
604-558-3338
trilussa.ca
Trilussa Pizza & Pane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Taqueria Main

Today I was on Main Street, celebrating the grand opening of the newest location to join the “La Taqueria” family. They are located ideally on the corner of Main and Broadway, by a prominent bus stop, for that extra walk-in traffic. Because as we know, there is nothing better than tacos on the go. Through their other five locations, they have already proven themselves as a prominent purveyor of the good stuff. Established in 2009 they have been bringing the “taste and feel of street tacos” from the streets of Mexico to the Lower Mainland.

But before we go any further, the disclaimer. When it comes to a media event, plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The restaurant’s plain exterior is misleading as it does usher you into a pretty special space, which intentionally had a new yet lived in feel to it. Blue and white geometric tiles imported from Mexico, reclaimed wood furniture, distressed antiques, and a collection of brass pigs. It was modern and dressy, yet cool and casual, all without effort.

The opening of this location is extra special, as it is the first, and currently only location that has a cocktail program, the others simply offer bottled drinks, Here, they are equipped with a bar and are working with mixologists from around town to create a relevant, rotating drink menu. Tonight we would get to try three such cocktails.

The “Classic margarita” featuring your choice of either mezcal or tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and agave nectar. Finished off with a finessed salted rim that had the salt grains cascading down the side of the glass.

The “Paloma” was pretty in a pale pink. Once again your choice of mezcal or tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit juice. Finished off with an lemon slice.

My favourite was the “Mezcal negroni” that was finished off with flames, and as a result had a wonderfully robust, smokey flavour to it. Not to mention the nifty work that went into cutting orange rinds into the shape of lightening bolts. Mezcal, cinzano rosso, campari, and pineapple bitters.

Their food menu is hand painted and hung on the wall, as it is for all their other locations. A mirrored listing of what is available and what goes in to it, for you to look at before committing.

We would begin with all that is new to any of their restaurants. First, the nacho platter: corn chips, a trio of Guadalajara-sourced cheeses, refried beans, onions, jalapeño pickles, sweet corn, sour cream, pico de Gallo, and a chipotle sauce. A great snack for sharing and pairing with the new cocktails. The mound of double baked nachos is comprised of three tiers and is dressed accordingly so that each chip has some topping. The chips were thick and crunchy, they held their texture even as the serving cooled. No complaints, besides not wanting to share. Guess that is reason enough to return, to be able to get a platter all to myself.

But if you prefer just some chip and the ability to regulate your dip, you can also get a platter of corn chips and salsa, or one with chips and pico de Gallo.

And now “La Taqueria”, has everyone’s favourite, churros! These cinnamon and sugar sticks are homemade and baked fresh to order. Make sure you eat these as soon as you get them, that way they are still crispy on the outside and the dulce de leche is still gooey for the dipping.

They of course, also offer the full extent of their taco, burrito, and quesadillas line at this location. Tonight we would try all of their fish and meat tacos, which are prepared using traditional recipes; utilizing local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

The great thing about tacos here is that anything you find bland, you can easily rectify by taking a stroll to their sauce and pickle bar, where with a scoop, dollop, or squeeze you can easily add flair to your handheld. Therefore I will only be speaking to the main ingredient in each taco as you are encourage to customize and pile high to your preference.

Their seafood tacos are my favourite and a big hit with the crowd. They come in slightly larger rounds than the meat tacos below. 6″ hand made flour tortillas.

“Atun”. Seared albacore tuna with wasabi mayo, chilli ponzu, cabbage, and pico de gallo. The fish and its asian seasonings reminded me of tuna tataki, with gentle and fresh flavours. To be honest I would have loved it as a salad with some greens, or the fish dressed as is to better highlight its quality.

My favourite was the “Baja” taco. Tempura beer battered seasonal fish, cabbage, cilantro, salsa mexicana, and chipotle mayo. A dressier fried fish with a crispy outside and a flaky inside. Overall, punchy flavours, bold spices, and a creamy sauce to balance them all.

I loved how the “cabo” tacos looked visually. Tempura beer battered prawns with cabbage, cilantro, salsa mexicana, and chipotle mayo. Althouugh really didn’t taste all that different from the fish taco above, given their overlapping use of ingredients. And if I was to choose between the two, it would be the fish.

The meat taco are a great deal at $3 each, and with some manipulating you can enjoy or share them as two mini tacos with still plenty of filling. They are served in 4” soft corn tortillas.

“Asada”. We found the grilled ‘AAA’ flank beef to be a little dry. Keeping in mine the sheer volume of patrons that was celebrating with “La Taqueria” today, and the food necessary to feed them being pushed out in large batches. The “De Cachette”, braised beef cheeks was a lot more juicy and flavourful. But the “De Lengua, braised beef tongue, the moistest of them all. But my favourite of the quartet was the “Pollo Con Mole”. I enjoyed the slight sweetness of the free range chicken coated in a chocolate mole sauce that contain nuts.

For meat tacos, “Carnitas” is my go to. Pork confit with pickled red onions, except I like it with a lot more pickles, which is easily achieved with a trip to their self serve condiment bar. The “Pescado” I found a little plain without additional dressing. The white seasonal fish didn’t taste like it was salted. Maybe with more chipotle mayo and salsa fresca, and less shredded cabbage this would have been more memorable. Whereas I liked the “Al Pastor” with its juicy pineapples offering sweetness and tang. It stood out amongst all the others. And lastly, I wanted some pickles on the “Tinga De Pollo” for acidity. As the chicken with chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce was a little one tone.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
If you haven’t visited the before, you need to come in for their seafood tacos, they are some of the best in the city. And now with cocktails, churros, and nachos, you have even more reason to make this your next dinner with a date or a mate. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LA TAQUERIA
2521 Main Street, Vancouver BC
lataqueria.com
La Taqueria Main Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boiling Point

The name is familiar, but up to this point I have yet to visit this well known hot pot chain. Typically when I enjoy hot pot, or when I crave it I am all about that bang for my buck. So I direct my attention to the all you can eat chains, but today I left the newest location of “Boiling Point” feeling just as full.

I was invited to this media event, to celebrate their grand opening on Main Street, their first location in Vancouver. Their other three are in Richmond, Surrey, and Burnaby. They have quickly become a fan favourite thanks to their individual sized pots, kept hot. The heat is thanks to the flame underneath, kept safe within their special platform. It stays lit and the soup stays boiling well into your meal. You can ask for more soup and a new fire, to extend the experience if you choose. And eating off a platform at an elevated height for optimum hand to mouth movement is enjoyable in itself.

When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The restaurant is very modern. Red brick walls, a series of pipes leading to round light bulbs, and wooden tables and booths. It felt like a cafe you would find in Yaletown. But the steamed up and fogged up windows made them distinctly “Boiling Pot”.

The menu is very easy to navigate. A colourful fold-out listing all their flavoured soups and each and every ingredient that goes into it. A great way to be transparent with their customers and for those with allergies or preferences to be well informed.

To start, we tried each of their four available appetizers. They were ingredients you could find within their pots, highlighted on a plate.

“Spicy fermented tofu”. This is a traditional Taiwanese dish, and a must try according to their descriptive menu. They are proud to acknowledge that each triangle is produced from a certified factory in Taiwan. Their tofu is hand brewed from naturally fermented vegetables and contains no preservatives. It is quite a delicacy, if you can get past the smell of bad breath, and if you like spicy food. A firm texture, coupled with a unique taste, that grows on you. I found myself enjoying it more the second time around.

The “spicy cumin lamb” was the same thin slices of lamb in any hot pot, but here flavoured with cumin. But there was hardly enough spice to call it “spicy”. Which would have been nice with the drizzle of creamy white sauce shown in the menu, that was also missing. When I inquired about it, I was told that is not how they prepare it. Instead, it was tasty and tender, but not what was pictured or what I expected.

The “spicy beef” was like the tender and tasty lamb above, but instead seasoned with their signature Mala sauce. Another not spicy, but super tasty and curly ribbon of meat. Flavour-wise, similar to lamb above.

Also similar in texture was their “garlic pork belly”. Freshly sliced pork belly, topped with garlic, chilli, and soy sauce. More salty and sweet then garlicky.

As for their hot pots, they have 10 different soup bases available. You start by selecting your hot soup, next choosing your spice level for it, and then picking a complimentary add on. The latter is basically a bowl of rice or vermicelli to have with your savoury meal and soup. A bowl of carbs to make it extra filling, with a vessel to eat out of. I found eating straight out of a bubbling pot, sweaty work; not to mention the added low visibility if you are wearing glasses.

During lunch you also get a drink included with your meal. Either an iced green tea or an iced black tea. And for lunch your bill is $1 less. Lunch and dinner portions sizes are the same. There is no actual difference between the two, so you are basically paying a premium for when you decide to dine.

All their soups and sauces are made in their “Central kitchen”, located in Richmond. They are delivered to their four restaurants daily. Another fact they pride themselves on. Which is also why they don’t franchise. The brand wishes to continue controlling every aspect of their food, to ensure quality and brand uniformity. And the plan works. I can attest to how great the soup bases are, I never once reached out for any of the four homemade sauces that sat on each table. Clear jars filled with oils, pastes, and liquids available but not necessary. Everything came already well seasoned and flavourful, to the point where any more would be off-putting.

I myself did not order all these different flavours blow, but I was pretty insistent that those sitting with me couldn’t order the same thing, so that I could try them all. It work, they did and I did.

The “House special” was my favourite for its intensity and complexity of flavours. No two mouthfuls tasted the same between the broth with most depth, and all the ingredients bobbing about, within it. Napa cabbage, fermented tofu, sliced pork, enoki mushroom, kamaboko, meat ball in pork, clam, quail egg, pork blood, pork intestine, nira, tomato, preserved vegetables, and cilantro. Naturally the stinky tofu was fairly pronounced, but only in taste and not in smell. It and the quail’s egg really made this something you have never had before.

The “Korean bean paste” hot pot was spicy, my dining mate who ordered it asked for medium in heat, but it came out tasting a lot more like hot. A bright red pool with bean sprouts, nira, pork belly, kimchi, green zucchini, fish tofu, kamaboko, tempura, rice cake, enoki mushroom, fish fillet, wok noodles, lobster fish ball, crown daisy, seaweed, and Korean paste. It tasted like a Korean barbecue sauce but in soup form, with plenty of familiar Korean ingredients and textures.

I had their newest hot pot: the sweet “milk cream curry”. I had it mild so the curry combined with the cream was more sweet than spicy or savoury. The pot is delivered as a pool of yellow with half of it submerged in a thick blob of sea salt cream. The foam slowly melts into the curry broth the more it boils, or you can simply help it along by stirring things up. This pot had the least amount of ingredients, I found myself digging past all the Napa cabbage in search of a protein or a starch. Sliced pork, vermicelli, enoki mushroom, imitation crab stick, fish ball, dried tofu skin, corn, tempura, mountain yam, and Chinese string bean. There was also not enough vermicelli in the mix (my favourite part) thankfully I was smart enough to order more of it as my complimentary side.

The “Taiwanese spicy” delivered. This soup was served in a larger pot, as a larger serving than the others. Here you couldn’t choose your level of spice, it was heavy on the spice and that was it. I tried some and it had me coughing and tearing up after I inhaled it in too quick. Definitely not for those who like their food mild or even medium. Cabbage, instant noodle, tempura, clam, sliced angus beef, enoki mushroom, cuttlefish rings, fish balls, pork intestine, pork blood, maitake mushroom, fried tofu skin, iced tofu, green onion, and cilantro. It was hard to fully appreciate all these wonderful ingredients past the overwhelming amount of spice. But at least you could make them out based on their textures.

The “Japanese miso” was my second favourite pot, especially with the udon and raw egg that crowning the serving. It was a mild miso soup to fully highlight all the other ingredients. Cabbage, sliced pork, enoki mushroom, clam, soft tofu, fish ball, fish fillet, crab, egg, king oyster mushroom, fried tofu skin, and green onion.

They also had a Thai version that I was interested in. I suspect that this would be reminiscent of Tom Yum. And there was also a tomato based broth for the vegetarians. And for those looking for something more simple you can choose your protein in a more traditional soup base. Lamb, beef, or seafood.

To accompany your hot pot they have a hefty list of drinks. Juices, teas, hot drinks, and soda. I went with a milk tea to help refresh my palette and cool my tongue. I found the “Hokkaido milk tea” just amazing. I would could back just go take this to go. Luckily it comes in a to-go cup, in case you can’t finish and find yourself having to.

For the same reason, their new dessert was a popular way to end your time with them. The “milky soft herbal jelly”. Is also made within their central kitchen. It is prepared in the traditional way, using the Mesona Chinese herb. Then packaged to-go in a portable plastic cup and lid, with label; looking like it could be sold commercially in a grocery store. It included a compartment to keep the pods of milk separate, just waiting for you to peal back their cover and pour them out. The dessert as a whole was very refreshing. It was the perfect slurp of neutral to wash away all the potent seasonings and spices used in your entree. A jelly without a taste, that its tastelessness soon defines it.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I really enjoyed my time with them and tasting all the hot pots they offered. One of my biggest complaints against hot pot is that many broths offered are so flat, so you soon find yourself leaning heavily on sauces to flavour your meal. Here I didn’t touch any of it. And even though it’s not all you can eat, $15 gets you plenty. Majority of us couldn’t finish our shares. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BOILING POINT
4148 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-620-2198
bpgroupusa.com
Boiling Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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